TVU Networks To Do Live VR Over IP

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF.—TVU Networks announced an IP- and cellular-based live virtual reality transmission platform, TVU VR.

“We have almost all the major TV station groups in the U.S. All are working very hard to push this,” said TVU CEO Paul Shen. “Our customers have come to us and said they want a solution.”

By incorporating TVU’s Inverse StatMux Plus (IS+) technology, TVU VR can stream live VR content from anywhere, even in a moving environment like a car or train, according to the company. TVU VR is said to deliver an ultra-high definition, full frame rate and live 360-degree fully immersive video to any VR headset, including Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive and others.

“If you look at Oculus Rift, Google... all those have a significant amount of investment. There is a lot of the VR right now, but people ask if you have live video. Our strength is live…. You can create a live video from ‘any’ environment, like a 360 view of a sporting event, or have people immersed in the news,” Shen said. “Everyone can watch from a different perspective.”

The platform is a rack-mounted vehicle unit that processes the feeds of the multiple cameras and compresses it into one stream, for as little as 15 Mbps for full 720p in the VR headset, Shen said. TVU is using a fixed, 360-degree GoPro camera for sourcing video and transmitting it using cell-bonding over the cellular infrastructure.

“If someone today said, ‘I want to see VR in a fast-moving vehicle,’ this would work,” Shen said. “There is no distance limitation.”

Right now, latency is about 15 seconds, but that 15-second latency is on the front end in the camera processing, Shen said. Without that and end-processing, transmission would be down to sub-seconds, he said.

As for demand, Shen said the development of TVU products is based on customer demand, even if VR headsets are not yet common in the market.

“There’s no question [adoption] will be accelerated,” Shen said, “but there’s no way to predict the time. The important thing is having the content, the programming and the material for this medium. The transmission will be there.”

TVU VR will be integrated into the TVU product ecosystem, which will be on display in booth No. SU4405. The line includes TVU One IP-based live mobile ENG transmitter; the TVU Grid routing, switching and distribution system; the TVU Anywhere app for iPhone and Androids handsets; the TVU MLink live video 3G/4G LTE satellite uplink transmitter; and TVUMe is an online video marketplace.